National Civil Servants to Be Increased by 100 People

The government plans to increase the number of national civil servants by 100 people in fiscal 2024 in order to address the problem of overtime work among civil servants, according to the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs. The bureau said that this will be the first increase of national civil servants aimed at reducing overtime work.

The labor problem is believed to be one of the reasons why young people are avoiding the job. As a result, the government is keen on curbing long working hours.

The government will increase the number of employees by 17 people at the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, by 10 people at the Justice Ministry and by 8 people each at the Finance Ministry and the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry.

The number of bureaucrats will be increased as a temporary measure until fiscal 2028. Plans for 2029 and beyond will be discussed at a later date based on factors such as how digitization will improve the efficiency of work and how work related to the Diet will operate.

According to a survey by the National Personnel Authority, 9.1% of national civil servants worked in excess of the standards set for overtime in fiscal 2021. This is the highest level since the survey began in fiscal 2019.

Handling Diet affairs is one of the biggest burdens on bureaucrats. Lawmakers submit questions for a committee meeting to bureaucrats in advance so that they can prepare answers, but it is not unusual for the work to continue into the early morning on the day of the meeting because both the ruling and opposition parties tend to submit questions late.

The number of applicants in the spring of 2023 for career-track bureaucrats among national civil servants, who are considered candidates for key posts in the future, was the second lowest ever in a recruitment exam. Departure of mid-career workers is also increasing in number, making it an urgent issue to find a way to get more people interested in work as national civil servants.